Hempstead Buildings Department Deputy Commissioner Arrested for Theft

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The Town of Hempstead Buildings Department’s deputy commissioner was arrested Thursday for allegedly stealing more than $59,000 from Cedarhurst Republican Committee, Nassau County prosecutors said.

A grand jury indicted John Novello, who is also executive leader of the Cedarhurst Republican Committee, on 11 counts, including felony charges of grand larceny, and misdemeanor charges of petit larceny and election law violations.

“These allegations are an outrageous betrayal of trust by a public official and party leader,” Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said. 

Prosecutors said the 51-year-old Hewlett Harbor man spent the money from the committee’s campaign account on his home mortgage, winery trip, luxury candies, entertainment, and personal expenses from January 2016 through last month.

He also allegedly stole more than $37,000 from donations to the committee’s annual golf tournament fundraiser and the Mayor’s Cup in 2018 and 2019, according to investigators.

Novello pleaded not guilty, was released without bail, and is due back in court Sept. 26. If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.

The arrest comes on the same day that Richard Porcelli, a former campaign manager for ex-Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of conspiracy and was sentenced to a year of community service for his role in a corruption scheme.